8 reasons to travel in Italy this fall
Italy is known for its many passions — fine food, wine, art and even soccer, just to name a few. If any of these things pique your interest, fall just might be the best time of the year to travel to the popular boot-shaped country. Here’s why.
1. The beach is still warm.
While temperatures are decreasing in most regions throughout Europe, autumn vacationers can hold onto summer a little longer by escaping to the southern coast of Italy. The Mediterranean climate boasts mild winters, which means the sand is welcoming all year long. Leave your fall wardrobe at home, and soak up a little extra Vitamin D before the gray weather hits.
2. There’s powder on the slopes.
Or … if you can’t wait to put on your scarves and mittens, head to the Italian Alps and Dolomites where the snow is fresh, and the skiing is thrilling. Italy is one of the few countries in Europe offering both sand-and-sun and mountains-and-snow holidays in the fall. Depending on the weather forecast, many of the 300+ resorts open in mid-October.
3. The olives are ripe for tasting.
Fall is the time of year for harvesting olives in Italy, and a great amount of love and care goes into the painstaking process. Most often, the fruit is handpicked from the trees to prevent the bruising caused by machines. The olives are then pressed as quickly as possible to preserve their fine oil — it can take up to 200 to produce one liter! — before it becomes too bitter for eating. Finally, at long last, the well-deserved feasting can begin! The year’s hard work is celebrated with olive tastings, specials in local restaurants and village sagre (festivals) … and you, fall traveler, will be there to taste the freshest olive oil in the world.
4. One word — wine.
With 20 regions and 350 official varieties, Italy is truly a wine-lover's dream come true. What better time to visit the cascading vineyards in the Italian countryside than the grape harvest season, when the vines are heavy with ripe fruit? In the fall, vintners welcome visitors to tour their estates, observe the wine-making process and taste their fine products. Lively harvest festivals draw crowds from all around the world, and everyone looks forward to tasting the vino novello, or the season’s newly made wine.
5. Culinary and harvest festivals are plentiful.
Olives and wine are not the only regional favorites celebrated this time of year. No matter your Italian destination, there is likely to be a gourmet food festival in a nearby city or village this fall. Research the local events and find out what is going on in the area while you plan to be there. You just might be able to satisfy your sweet tooth at Perugia’s EuroChocolate event, explore the earthy flavors of fungus at the White Truffle Festival in Alba, taste melt-in-your mouth prosciutto near Parma, or attend one of the many chestnut celebrations in small towns north of Rome. Buon appetito!
6. The soccer craze is in full swing.
Soccer — or calcio, as the locals call it — is a way of life in Italy. The season starts in August, making fall the perfect time to visit if you’re hoping to catch an exhilarating game. Whether you are in the stands or watching the event unfold from a bar or restaurant, the passion the Italians have for their national and regional teams is contagious. Whatever you do, be sure to show your support for the home team, and avoid openly sporting an opponent’s colors.
7. Cultural experiences delight.
Getting involved in the local holidays and events is a great way to get to know the people and immerse yourself in the culture. Celebrate Shakespearean Juliet’s birthday in fair Verona, watch gondolas speed through the canals of Venice in the famous Regata Storica boat races, attend the jazz festival in Rome, or catch a new art exhibit at one of Italy’s many famous museums.
8. The opera season commences.
No autumn trip to the birthplace of opera is complete without tickets to a local performance. Although outdoor events are held throughout the summer months, the historic churches, opera houses and palazzi (museums and palaces) open their doors for the official start of the season once the temperatures inside cool for a more pleasant experience. Get dressed up and make it a romantic evening to remember.